Arts, recreation and culture are part of life in Cumberland.
The village, however, does not have an overall master plan, so council has approved spending some COVID-19 Restart funding to help develop one.
“Now is an opportune time to proceed,” parks and recreation manager Kevin McPhedran told council at a Sept. 27 meeting. “We’re preparing something quite comprehensive in nature.”
As the staff report notes, the village has been relying on various plans and studies to guide the management of its recreation and cultural facilities, programming, events and partnerships. The new master plan will bring these together.
“Essentially, the results would be a road map for the village in delivering recreation, arts and cultural services for the years to come,” he said.
He also differentiated it from a parks and trails master plan for the community, though he noted there might be a parks component to some of the events.
“It’s very much focused on recreation, culture,” he said.
Council approved allocating $70,000 of the Restart grant funding for the plan. This process will include engaging with residents and stakeholders on the services to be delivered by the village, researching best practices and trends in facility evaluation and design, programming and other related topics, informing infrastructure and facility planning and design, developing an implementation plan for delivery over a 10-year timeline and providing the foundation to support a local economic development strategy.
“I think it’s time we gave the arts and culture community an opportunity to tell us what they need,” Coun. Vickey Brown said.
Coun. Jesse Ketler said she was happy to see the process will be “pulling together a bunch of stuff we have done before.” She did note one concern, specifically, that the process looked like a bit of a “paper study” and was curious to see where the money would be directed.
McPhedran responded that probably half to two-thirds would go to planning public engagement and developing the master plan report. He expects they will be looking much more closely at issues around the village’s facilities, later noting this would not simply focus on the Cumberland Recreation Centre or the Cultural Centre but will include other facilities such as ones at Village Park.
Other Restart projects
Council also approved spending some Restart funding for other projects. Economic development officer Kaelin Chambers followed up the discussion on the arts, recreation and culture master plan with some other priority items for Restart grant funds.
Along with the master plan, council approved funds of $5,425 for the installation of automated or timed door locks on public washroom doors at the Cumberland Recreation Centre parking lot; $30,000 for 2022 annual fees from IT infrastructure upgrades, such as fibre optic and IT upgrade-related licensing fees; and for staff to report back on options for how the Restarts funds might support the village’s 2022 grant-in-aid program.